If you plan to have a vacation in the Philippines I bet you will go straight to one of its famous beaches like Boracay, El Nido, Palaui Island, Panglao, Caramoan etc. With a country having 7,107 islands, you will never run out of beaches to visit in a lifetime!
Get a tan on any beach, go mountain hiking, try one of those high crazy zip lines, but I must insist you include on your itinerary a few days to explore Makati. It doesn’t have a nearby beach, but there are nifty urban destinations any traveler will delight in.
For starters, Makati is full of hotels ranging from boutique to 5-star types. Be sure to find one near the Central Business District (CBD) because that is where the adventure of this article will revolve in.
Below are recommended CBD Makati destinations to visit.
Ayala Museum is a breathing space of knowledge amidst the hustle and bustle of urban Makati. The museum regularly schedules various programs inclusive of history, music and design, contemporary art, temporary exhibitions, lectures, artist/curator talks, workshops, and performances. It also highlights a wonderful collection of archeological artifacts, which serve as testaments to the rich history and notable craftsmanship of early Filipinos. There is also an incredible exhibition of 60 handcrafted dioramas, depicting the milestones of Philippine history. These dioramas are featured in the Google Art project.
Filipinas Heritage Library
If you are a bookworm and you want to indulge in Filipino history, art, and culture then this is the place to be. They also have thousands of images and references related to the Philippines and they also have interesting artistic and historical photos on display. A bookstore is available if you want to get a book as a souvenir.
Ayala Triangle Gardens
The lush gardens became a refuge away from the fast-paced Makati life. This place is enjoyable for jogging, brisk walking, dog walking or people-watching. It serves as a “link” between the offices and condominiums in Legaspi and Salcedo Villages to the other side of the business district consisting of shopping centers and commuter stations. A line of restaurants can be found in the garden so you can indulge in some edible temptations when you feel like it.
The interconnected shopping malls
There are 4 malls namely, Greenbelt, Landmark, Glorietta and SM. These malls are all connected to each other and even has walkways that cross over the busy roads. Each mall has their own unique ambiance and has tons of shops to go to that it would be impossible not to find whatever you are looking for.
If you are feeling tired from all the shopping and want to relax your feet outdoors, Greenbelt Park is the best place to go. The park is so well planned there are benches, trees and even ponds where you can watch Koi swim by. Different coffee shops line the park so you can easily order a coffee, take your cup outside and relax near the water fountains for a nice view of the greenery.
This is an oasis of serenity amidst the commercial activity found right in the middle of Greenbelt Park.
Filipinos are well known for their love of singing so don’t be surprised to find a lot of karaoke bars. If you’re nearby the Ayala area, go and sing your heart out in Red Box situated in Greenbelt 3 mall. If you want to explore more of Makati, you can go to Poblacion or Bel-Air villages where different karaoke bars abound.
Makati has become a caldron of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of restaurants ranging from hole-in-the-walls to 5-star types. You will also find a variety of street food, inclusive of the popular balut (boiled, fertilized egg) and nilagang mani (boiled peanuts). Near a residential area called Poblacion, you will find a myriad of cuisines right beside each other such as Mediterranean, Japanese, Mexican, Filipino, Thai, Korean, etc. You will never run out of options.
Sts. Peter and Paul Church
If you want to travel back in time you will not believe that amidst the skyscrapers and modern malls, you will find a 17th-century church. This is where Makati's known religious processions start and end.
If you are interested in the street and youth culture, head up to The Collective. Here you will find a jumble of novelty shops, restaurants and bars all ran by young, creative entrepreneurs. It is best to come here at night to see the place in full swing.
During weekends, Salcedo and Legazpi parks have markets wherein fresh and organic produce along with homemade crafts and international cuisine abound.
There are other spots you could go to, but these places are a good place to start. I bet you heard how horrendous traffic could be at certain times but never fear. If you search for these places in Google Maps, you will find the majority of these are walking distance from each other.